Isn’t it strange, how sometimes, something catches the eye and demands your attention?
Walking through Bedford Square, the shopping precinct in Houghton Regis, a small town between Luton and Dunstable, that Gill and I rarely visit, I noticed a shop window full of old reconditioned sewing machines. It was not the machinery that had attracted me but the display cards that accompanied them which were all written in a very distinctive hand. Then I realised it was not only sewing machines for sale but a whole range of art and craft materials; and what scribe can stop themselves from entering what they see as an Aladdin’s cave?
Cutting a very long story short. I found that the cards in the window were written by Julie Kent, a co-student of the calligraphy class I had attended in Dunstable College, some thirty-ish years ago. Though we have both taught and practised our art in the same area for all this time, we had, surprisingly, never come into contact again.
Now, it seems that Julie, in partnership with Les, helped by Jackie and a team of volunteers, runs this emporium as an outreach for a local church and offers facilities for children’s groups, various classes, arts/crafts, and yes you’ve guessed it, CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOPS .
Subsequently I have returned on two occasions during calligraphy sessions and having met the participants and seen some of their work, I must say I am impressed, not only with the standard of work achieved, but with the enthusiasm, commitment and friendliness of all involved, and the TEA! Hot, strong and sweet! Oh! and each time I have walked away with a bag full of goodies. Brand names at very reasonable prices. I can’t wait to get to grips with the Fabriano papers.
Some of the works created by Julie’s group.
On top of all this, Julie continues to take commissions. Not only for calligraphy but also her beautiful watercolour paintings.
Some of Julie’s pieces .
I hope you have enjoyed this foray into deepest Bedfordshire. I hope it will be a reminder to us all to keep our eyes open for those little gems that are literally on our doorsteps.
Keep watching this space.
Taken from Bill’s Space blog May 14th 2011